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Participant Stories: “From Garden to Table: Peas, Pleasure, and Fritters”

By John Gannon

In every issue of our newsletter, we’re treated to John’s green thumb tips and tantalising recipes. It’s a section for those who love to bring the freshness of the garden straight to the dining table. This edition, John walks us through the delights of cultivating green peas, a cool-season favourite with a rich history. Not only are peas nutritional powerhouses, but they also play a generous role in our gardens, enriching the very soil they grow in. After guiding us on how to grow these little green gems, John shares a mouth-watering recipe for Pea, Za’atar, and Feta Fritters. Let’s dig in!

Green Peas (Pisum sativum): A Cool Season Delight

Versatile and vibrant, green peas are a wonderful addition to any autumn or winter garden. They thrive in cooler temperatures, preferring conditions under 27 degrees Celsius. Originating from the cradle of civilisation in western Asia and North Africa, peas boast a legacy of being among the earliest domesticated crops, nourishing humans for thousands of years.

What makes peas truly special is their ability to work in harmony with soil bacteria to ‘fix’ nitrogen, enriching the soil for future crops. Nutritionally, they’re packed with an array of vitamins and minerals like A, K, and C, along with thiamine, folate, and manganese. They’re a fantastic source of protein and fibre, making them champions for blood sugar regulation and heart health.

Cultivating Your Peas:

To get started, select a spot in your garden that receives part shade or full sun. Peas are natural fertilisers, so they don’t demand much – a bit of compost will do if you feel generous. Sow them directly into the ground, spacing them about 5cm apart in rows 15cm apart. Cover the seeds with soil, water them in, and provide support like sticks or a trellis for them to climb as they grow. With consistent harvesting, you’ll be enjoying the fruits of your labor in 11 to 15 weeks when the pods are plump and ready.

Recipe: Pea, Za’atar, and Feta Fritters (Serves 6)


  • 500g frozen peas
  • 120g ricotta
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 lemon (zest for 1 tsp, and wedges for serving)
  • 3 tsp za’atar
  • 100g plain flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 20g mint leaves (finely chopped)
  • 200g feta (crumbled finely)
  • Oil for frying
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Here’s how to whip up these tasty fritters:

1. Give the peas a quick pulse in a food processor, then place them into a large mixing bowl. Blend in the ricotta, eggs, and lemon zest with a hearty pinch of salt and a dash of pepper. Follow with za’atar, flour, and baking powder, stirring until just combined. Finally, fold in the mint and feta.

2. Warm the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Shape the mixture into your preferred shape—balls, quenelles, or patties—and fry them gently for about 5 minutes or until golden and cooked through.

3. Serve the fritters warm, accompanied by a fresh lemon wedge.

Here’s to a meal that’s as nourishing as it is satisfying. Enjoy your home-grown bounty!

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